Over the last couple weeks I’ve had some friends come over and test new programs. They’re not so much programs, as ideas I’ve cobbled together to test the mechanics. In fact, I call it mechanic testing rather than beta testing.
Test groups were:
- Leila, Brian, Alix, and Andrea
- Wendy, Ross, and Melissa
- Rebecca, Ryan, and their two friends
- Kevin and Heather
I took a lot of notes but for this post I’ll just focus on the bigger items. I’m also going to talk about it like they were all there at the same time, but it was three different nights.
Program Name: Caw Caw
This program is a one trick pony: it switches back and forth from high energy crazy to calm and relaxing. Neither of those parts is particularly interesting, just the surprising transition.
Verdict: Shelve it.
Program Name: Hello Howdy
The idea on this one is that you are assigned a color and you have to follow it around the room with your eyes. When it changes into a certain shape, you say “howdy” to the person the color is behind.
- People bump into walls too much. (Deal breaker)
- People aren’t looking at each other, just the color. This might be worked around if you had a more personable thing you had to do with that person (shake hands, nod, make eye contact) but it wasn’t working
Verdict: Shelve it until I have a bigger and sturdier room.
Program Name: Laugh Game
This program was a recent reincarnation of the laughs and smiles game from mindfultainment. I didn’t think it would be good even at this stage, but thought maybe something would come out of the testing that helped me get it to a better place. Nope.
- It’s just kind of boring. The vocalizations are fun but I took those out and put them in the harmonizer program, so this is left with funny faces and “ha HA” type call and response. Not enough payoff.
Verdict: Shelve it. Stop going back to this one.
Program Name: Harmonize
“Harmonize” is the working title. The idea is that colors move around the screen and you change your tone based on what you see. Each person has a different color. Though with bigger groups I might have people double-up.
- People love synchronicity. Not just doing the same thing either. They enjoy a weird back-and-forth and also pattern making. Rhythm and Mastery win over and over
- I thought funnier sounds were: “uh” and kind of whiny sounds. Or like scooby-doo when he is confused. People liked being able to choose the sound (and change it).
- People who like the stage like this. People who fear the stage do not like this at all. Putting people on the spot is fun and funny to some. Damn near traumatic to others. Ryan said he sat in fear that that moment was going to come and he’d be left making is tone solo. If I do on the spot make it quick and over before they can feel self-conscious. This was Rebecca’s favorite program. I think also Heather’s. This program is made for performer-types.
- No one seemed to mind the lack of special effects. I think the quiet darkness was nice.
- Arpeggios went well and felt special in a way that the others didn’t. A nice calm meditative feel.
- At one point in their harmoning, I blurted out “Live Music Captiol of the World!” Maybe that might be a theme I could use. Like be a part of.. or join… or something like that.
- People liked the names of the sections even though it was just for my notes. They liked that it wasn’t exactly helpful to what they were about to do.
- When I did the Volume shapes, this got them louder and more into it. Maybe use this one after quieter or slower sections.
- Experiment next time with 2-syllable sounds.
Verdict: Keep this one and develop a way to accommodate (or weed out) the people who will not like this. Keep adding more synchronicities.
Program Name: Chant The Thing
I show you pictures and you say what they are. Nothing hard. The joy comes from saying them as a group and being sync’ed with the music.
- This leans on the joy of mastery. I felt this got the quieter people out of their shells because it had more of a “purpose”.
- As always, synchronicity is king. People love it when it happens and it builds and gets louder the more they are all on the same page. The split screen offered some of that as well, but it was too varied. I need to get more of it built into the split screen part.
- I had added in some special images (like hay) that people had to say or do something special (like say “hey!” to someone). Turns out this was not just too hard to do but took them out of the rhythm and focus they were enjoying. There are nearly infinite things I could show them. Based on a few of the more interesting things I showed, I think I can stick to just pictures and make it a fun show.
- The 3D graphics going down the sides of the room were distracting. 2D graphics were not.
- Ryan said he had trouble with “potato” because it was a longer word. Upon my further examination I think it might be hard because it has the second syllable stressed and the words I had it with were often first syllable (Idaho and buffalo are harder to say with potato than tomato or gazebo)
- People liked the blurry images and the transitions on screen, so more of that next round.
- People liked the music and thought it fit well.
- Certain words are just funnier than others and certain words work better with others. Obviously, but also to the extent that it’s a big deal.
- Putting things on the side walls, even a big letter E or O or M continues to be difficult. I’m going to drop that.
- When everyone gets it right except one person, this is very funny.
- When there’s something on the screen that stumps everyone, it can be funny. Don’t overdo it.
Verdict: This is a keeper for sure. Stick to putting images only on the front wall and 2D backdrop. Make it a nearly constant stream of mastery and synchronicity.